If you're like me, Google is your homepage. You refer to it constantly to look up words, find information...and sometimes, figure out the name of that person in that movie who's now in the TV show that's driving you crazy. But Google isn't just there to lead you on weird Wikipedia trivia hunts or help you find that particular Family Guy clip you've got to watch again. In fact, as an indie author you may not be Googling enough.
Are You There, Google? It's Me, Jade
I use Google to take a look at maps, learn more about trees and figure out if I'm really using further the right way in that sentence. It's always open on all my devices, and I've asked it any number of insane questions. But there's something else I always do with Google, and all other indie authors should as well: I check all my titles and names. Do you?
When you self-publish a book, you're going to end up promoting it for years to come. So before you put it on the cover and make a trailer and list it on Amazon for all to see, do yourself a favor and go to Google. Before you do anything as an indie, you should be Googling several key things:
- Your author name: Whether you're using a pen name or the one you were born with, go and Google it first. If your name is Jennifer Hudson or Anne Rice, you should probably try using a pen name. Or perhaps add your middle name to the mix and bill yourself as Anne Rebecca Rice. Names are often shared, so yours may not be that unique. To see how unique it really is, Google it. You're going to need social media accounts and web pages that stand out, and a unique name is the only way of facilitating this. Keep Googling until you find a name you can make your own.
- Your main character names: While you're enjoying some search engine time, Google your main characters' names as well. Though it's not quite as important as your own pen name, you still want a hero or heroine who will stand out. Bella Swan, Katniss Everdeen -- these are names that stand out and stand alone. Your characters need be the same way.
- Your book name: Always, always Google the title of your book. If too many other books/songs/websites/anything has the same name as your book, change the name of the book. You want to pick a title that will appear easily on search engines. Readers may not remember your name, because you're only the author. It's the title that truly needs to stand out, and it needs to stand above all the other competition. Google first, change now, figure it out before you do anything permanent.
Google is an essential tool for any writer, but it's not just there for research. As an indie author you always have to be thinking about brand recognition. Use Google to make sure you're going to get it.